LOS ANGELES, August 4, 2012 – Stop the presses. In fact, stop everything. Whatever it is, it can wait. This is the 2012 National Football League Professional Hall of Fame weekend.
Any events not taking place in Canton, Ohio, can be dealt with on Monday.
Even the leader of the free world will have to make some sacrifices. The 2012 regular season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and defending champion New York Giants was scheduled for Thursday, September 6th.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell moved the game up one day to Wednesday so as not to conflict with the President’s reelection convention speech.
Well rumor has it that Saturday, August 4th, is the President’s birthday. He will have to postpone it until Monday. This is not personal. This is business of the most serious kind. This is professional football.
Starting at 7pm Canton (EST) Time, America will hear from the six newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cornerback Jack Butler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end/linebacker Chris Doleman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin, and offensive tackle Willie Roaf will enter the pantheons of the very best.
In fact, it may be considered the second best induction speech behind that of Michael Irvin. The final two minutes of his speech should be required viewing for every school child ever afraid of anything.
In 2006, it was my honor to actually attend the events live. Harry Carson gave a very politically charged speech, while John Madden added to legendary blue collar status by beginning “I don’t plan on making a whole heck of a lot of sense, and I don’t care.”
This year the drama over who is in attendance. Bill Parcells will be introducing Curtis Martin, reminding the entire football world that it is inexplicable that Parcells is not already enshrined.
Parcells protege Sean Payton has been allowed to attend the ceremony to witness Willie Roaf enter the Hall. Coach Payton’s suspension is still in effect, and he will be prohibited from the actual game on Sunday.
Speaking of Sunday, there will be actual football. Yes it is preseason, but after six months of waiting, it is something. The New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals will play at 8pm Canton time on Sunday.
There will be so much to say after the speeches, but for now, let’s just enjoy the fact that the only sport that truly matters has finally returned.
Any moment now that coin will be flipped in the air, followed by the handshakes.
Gentlemen, let’s play football.
To those enshrined, thank you for playing it, playing it hard, and playing it with honor.
Updated: Here are some highlights from the speeches.
New Orleans Saints Offensive Tackle Willie Roaf: “I will forever be thankful to the Saints for drafting me.”
“I will always be a Hall of Fame teammate you can be proud of. Thank you for welcoming me to your team.”
“To my mother in heaven, no mom, I did not become a doctor, lawyer, or brain surgeon…but I did become a Pro Football Hall of Famer. I know you are looking down on me and are proud of me, and that matters most to me.”
Pittsburgh Steelers Cornerback Jack Butler: “I can’t figure out what caused all this.”
“Heck, I’m thankful I’m here.”
Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Chris Doleman:
“We pay you to win football games, not play football.”
“Anything you want in life, you can get through sacks…money, fame, women, whatever.”
“My dad had one rule. If he signed you up for something, you better finish. He didn’t like wasting money.”
Seattle Seahawks Defensive Tackle Cortez Kennedy:
“My dad said I did a bad job cutting the grass. So he made me do it again at 5am. I still think that if it was tough to do during the day, how could I do a good job at night? I got the point though.”
“My mom made me quit football for having bad grades. My team made it to the state championship and my mom sent me a postcard that said ‘wish you were here.’”
“You know it’s bad when the Defensive Coordinator says you know we’re not going to win the game, let’s just not embarrass ourselves.”
“It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the relationships. It’s about not taking shortcuts. God bless America, and God bless the Seattle Seahawks.”
Pittsburgh Steelers Center Dermontti Dawson: “To everybody on the field and off, do everything with a purpose. Live, act, play, work with a purpose, with a passion, and most importantly, with honor.”
New York Jets Running Back Curtis Martin: “Everybody who knows me knows I hate to run.”
“Yesterday, I really felt like it was my first day as a fan of the game of football.”
“I thought I would play baseball, but it was too hot in the Summer.”
“I always thought I would die before I was 21, but when I was 20 I thought I would go to Church and thank God because I know I am not faster than a bullet.”
“If my kid could learn what I’ve learned from this game, I’d let him play. I think it’s worth the risk.”
“It’s not what you achieve in life that matters most, it’s who you become in the process.”
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” When not watching football, his only other hobby is Republican, Jewish women. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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